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Blackpool Council demonstrates its commitment to the development of a ‘Be Who You Want To Be’ area in Claremont

Written by on 18/01/2024

The Council’s Executive is being asked to consider a report and action plan that has been compiled with partners detailing how a ‘Be Who You Want to Be’ area could be developed.

The action plan follows a number of focus groups, discussions and a survey which was launched by the council and its partners including The Blackpool North Shore Business Group, Renaissance Charity, LGBTQ+ Facebook Friends, hotelier’s group BAGS and Pride Blackpool back in October 2023. There is already a long established LGBTQ+ community and history in the area.

The area is particularly important to the Council in relation to the Council Plan, in terms of supporting equality, inclusion and celebrating diversity in our town.  In particular, ensuring this area is safe for all to be who they want to be, to socialise and celebrate inclusion, difference and diversity without the risks of homophobic or other discriminatory abuse. It is hoped this will help catalyse the regeneration of the area and also build an inclusive culture in the wider town.

Themes that have emerged from the survey feedback such as diversity, vibrancy, sense of place and the need to improve existing cultural facilities in the area such as Central Library and the Grundy Art Gallery have informed the cultural development section of the action plan.

After analysis and consideration of the survey results and other feedback through focus groups and discussions the following themes have been identified for the ‘Be Who You Want To Be’ action plan:

  • Public Realm – centred around streetscape, sense of place, cleanliness, highways, greening up, street lighting and illuminations;
  • Safety and Security – centred around CCTV, Street Angels, community policing, premises management, hotel watch, multi-agency workings and operations;
  • Arts, Heritage and Culture – centred around embedding the area into the Cultural Strategy, public art, development of Grundy Art Gallery and Central Library, working with LGBTQ+ artists and communities, community and visitor events and activities, including street performances and festivals;
  • Young People – centred around ensuring the youth voice is a golden thread through themes, stakeholder meetings inclusive and accessible for young people, walk and talk engagement sessions assessing delivery, ideas and perceptions and explore options for a young people’s LGBTQ+ community space asset within the area;
  • Health and Wellbeing – centred around accessible health care services to the LGBTQ+ community, particularly mental health, transgender needs assessment, sexual health clinics, NHS talking therapies and social care strategy and policy;
  • Business Community – centred around establishing channels to market and promote improvement and business achievements, promoting evening and night-time economy, creating the condition for dialogue and development;
  • Marketing and Communication – centred around review of actions and development of the area in order to develop a meaningful marketing and communication plan;
  • Governance – centred around developing an overarching ‘Friends Group’ of the area, sub-groups of the action plan, High Street Accelerator Board, LGBTQ+ Forum and enforcement activity in the area related to Public Protection and Housing Options service areas.

Cllr Jo Farrell, Cabinet Member for Levelling Up  –  People, said: “This is another step forward in developing this area into a place where people really can be who they want to be. The engagement and ideas we have had back from various different sections of the community has been fantastic and I am really looking forward to the seeing this action plan being put into operation and all the elements starting to come together.

“Blackpool and this area particularly already has a rich history with the LGBTQ+ community and now is the time to develop that further.

“It is so important that people continue to engage with the project and that together we all deliver something better for Blackpool.

Tim Allan, Chair of the North Shore Business Group said: “I’m really pleased that we have this action plan ready to roll out in what has been a relatively short space of time.

“There is a real buzz of excitement that North Shore will gradually be revitalised and a new vibrancy will emerge.

“I want Claremont to feel safe and diverse so that everyone can always ‘Be Who You Want To Be’. It is all about inclusion and equality.

“The action plan will build on Blackpool’s LGBTQ+ history and heritage and will support the health and welfare of our community. It will also give a voice to the young people in our town as they are the future.

“The initiative is designed to support and improve businesses in the area, including both the daytime and night time economy. I hope it will attract significant new investment and will attract more visitors into the North Shore part of Blackpool.

“The time is right to develop the identity of this area further and improve it for the benefit of everyone. Council Leaders are fully behind the initiative and are determined to make it work. On behalf of the business community and all those who live in the area, we need to work together – because together we will be stronger.”